Trojans earn first EPC win
For two and a half quarters it looked as if the Parkland boys basketball team would not be able to overcome rival Emmaus in front of a rowdy crowd at the Hornets’ gym.
But the Trojans’ three most experienced players did not want to let that happen. Seniors Michael Ruisch and Jake Bartholomew and junior Logan Rindock each scored in double-figures and combined to score 39 of the team’s 50 points to lead a second-half comeback and defeat the Hornets 50-47 last Tuesday night at Emmaus High School in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference matchup.
Parkland (3-2 overall, 1-1 EPC) scored the first basket of the game, a 3-pointer by Ruisch, to take the lead right out of the gate. It was one of four 3-pointers on the night for Ruisch, who finished with a team-high 14 points to go along with seven rebounds.
But outside of a Bartholomew (12 points) jumper in the first eight minutes, the Trojans could not find any rhythm early in the game. They shot 2-for-13 from the field and 0-for-2 at the free-throw line and headed into the second quarter trailing 14-5.
An 8-0 run by Emmaus to open the second, brought the deficit to as high as 22-6 before head coach Andy Stephens called a timeout. Parkland was down 24-10 at halftime, and faced a double-figure deficit until the middle of the third quarter.
Behind 33-20, the Trojans scored nine of the next 11 points before the third quarter buzzer to cut the lead to 35-29 in heading into the fourth.
“Coach [Stephens] ripped into us at halftime and talked about leadership,” said Rindock, who ended with 13 points, four rebounds, three steals and three assists. “He just said if we got it down to six or eight points heading into the fourth quarter, we’d have a good chance of winning, and that’s what we did.”
Emmaus was led early by its junior big man Zach Sabol, who led all scorers with 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Sabol was a force inside the paint during the first half. Parkland used more than one defender any time Sabol got a touch down low, and they held him to just six points in the second half.
“He’s strong down low and gets good position,” Rindock said. “Coach wanted us to double down whenever he got the ball near the basket, and we did our best to prevent him from catching it in a good position.”
The Trojans continued their run into the fourth quarter, and got their deficit down to just 35-33 in the first two minutes. After the teams traded baskets for a couple of possessions, Ruisch tied the game with a 3-pointer, and it was 41-41 midway through.
With the scored even at 45-45, Parkland took its first lead since the opening basket on a Rindock layup. When Emmaus’ Josh Artis tied it back up with a jumper, Rindock and Bartholomew combined to go 3-of-4 from the free-throw line in the final minute to hold a 50-47 lead.
A turnover by the Green Hornets on the other end with eight seconds remaining sealed the victory.
It was the first game for Parkland since losses to Bethlehem Catholic and Hazleton during the previous week.
“It was important to get back on track with a win after our losses to Becahi and Hazleton,” said Rindock. “It’s always nice to beat Emmaus and especially here on their court. It’s a good rivalry, and it was a big game. We play Whitehall Friday so it was important to get this one.”